October 26, 2015 weblog
Bending to wearables, two battery kings step up game
South Korea is making battery manufacturing news. Its two big tech companies, SamsungSDI and LG Chem, have been demonstrating an aggressive focus on new battery solutions for the crop of mobile gadgets under the umbrella term "wearables."
Paul Lilly of Hot Hardware said that if the wearable category is to really take off the way smartphones and tablets did, then battery makers need to step up their game.
Korea JoongAng Daily said, "The biggest challenges for battery manufacturers has been to make small yet long-lasting batteries that are also slim and flexible so they can be applied to wearable products."
Both Samsung SDI and LG Chem showed signs that they are stepping up the game; they showed off products at a major battery event in Seoul, InterBattery 2015.
From Samsung SDI: Two battery types, Stripe (bends like fiber) and Band (for smartwatches).
Samsung's news release said that the two batteries were "an embodiment of the age of wearable batteries that is applicable to any curves of a human body."
The Band battery is targeted toward smartwatches. When the battery is applied on the bands of a smartwatch, it will enhance the battery capacity to over 50 percent, said Samsung.
The Samsung release said, "The Band battery of Samsung SDI proved to have sufficient marketability by operating normally subsequent to being bended over 50 thousand times within the curvature of human wrist circumference."
Meanwhile, the Stripe Battery is described as slim and flexible with high-energy density. This one can be adapted to any wearable such as necklace, hairband and T-shirts. It bends and conforms freely as a fiber.
LG Chem's introduction was a wristband- type "wire battery." ZDNet noted that while other flex batteries can bend into a circle with a 30mm radius, LG's wire-shaped battery can bend into a 15mm radius. Said Philip Iglauer, "This means that it can bend back on itself, fitting perfectly inside a watch band." He reported that a representative at the exhibit said it had the potential to double the current smartwatch-battery capacities.
Korea JoongAng Daily reported that Samsung SDI held 20.5 percent of the global market share, a position kept since 2010. Samsung SDI started its lithium-ion battery business in 2000. The second lead was taken up by Korean company LG Chem with a 15.9 percent market share.
Lee Ho-Jeong in Korea JoongAng Daily said, "The flexible battery market is expected to expand in the coming years, according to IDTechEx Research, which estimated the market would grow from $6.9 million in 2015 to over $400 million by 2025 as global demand and Internet of Things (IoT) devices will require thinner, lighter, more flexible batteries with high energy density."
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